Thinkibility Idea Pool – Biomimicry


Inspiration for innovation 
Many innovative and sustainable solutions have been found by studying natures best solutions and searching for ways to imitate those solutions. We have used nature as an inspiration for a long time, yet, it has perhaps not been a conscious approach. Architects have used spiders’ webs and termite mounds as inspiration. However, only a limited number of animals or plants have been selected and studied. In some cases, images and pictures from nature has been used as departure point for developing new forms and designs.

Michael Pawlyn is the author of the book Biomimicry in Architecture where we findideas that can lead to genuinely sustainable building designs and technologies. Forms and processes that have developed over billions of years can be incorporated to provide us with modern green buildings and designs. Future trends in architecture and design are examined and ideas such as zero-waste systems; water; energy generation and the thermal environment provides inspiration not only for architects but also for generating other ideas.

Janine Benyus, co-founder of the Biomimicry Guild, suggests that there are nine laws that are underlying the concept biomimicry.

  • Nature runs on sunlight
  • Nature uses only the energy it needs
  • Nature fits form to function
  • Nature recycles everything
  • Nature rewards cooperation
  • Nature banks on diversity
  • Nature demands local expertise
  • Nature curbs excesses from within
  • Nature taps the power of limits.

Shapes that are used in nature can lead to new ideas that are resource efficient. Tonkin Liu who were inspired by the forms of shells to create the Shi Ling bridge. Nature is a great inspiration to build and create beautiful structures and buildings and to create a world with zero waste.

Random Animals and Plants
Nature often has solutions to our challenges. By using nature as inspiration, creative solutions can be found. We can also generate new ideas by using random words. Making lists of animals and plants and draw  random words can help us search for new solutions based inspiration from nature. If we are search for inspiration for a new cleaning product and draw the word lotus – we could get inspiration to develop a cleaning product that is based upon self-cleaning principles – nature does not used detergents.

A company developed paint with hydrophobic properties – water repellent – by studying the construction of the lotus leaf where rain drops rolls over the leaf and entraps dirt. Nature does not have time to clean and it knows what works here on Earth.

Photo: “Lotus Pod” by hinnamsaisuy


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